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The hiring of college graduates at all degree levels should be very strong in 2016-17, according to Michigan State University’s Recruiting Trends, the largest annual survey of employers in the nation. Phil Gardner is the survey’s author and directs MSU’s Collegiate Employment Research Institute.
“This is the seventh year of an expansion of opportunities for college students,” says Gardner. “And this year was particularly strong. There are a lot of employers out there of all different sizes, stripes and colors that are really looking for talent in a lot of different guises, and so it’s really positive.”
Bolstered by company growth and employee turnover, hiring is expected to increase 23 percent. That company growth and boomer retirements are factors leading to this torrid pace of hiring.
“Some of these companies deferred hiring during the recession and now have to catch up. The big factor is turnover; 60 percent of the companies surveyed say they’re concerned that turnover has risen to a high level in their companies, and that’s really influencing their hiring.”
And Gardner adds that companies were slow to see the need for this aggressive hiring.
“Companies got a little complacent about being aggressive recruiters because there was always a supply of candidates. Now they’re having to be really aggressive because there aren’t a lot of qualified people around.”
And Gardner adds that there aren’t necessarily hot sectors of the economy leading to all the hiring.
“What’s happened out there is that the jobs that are hot really just require a recombination of skills and kids using their academic majors in unique ways and taking advantage of these opportunities to create their own hot jobs.”
Gardner cautions students, however, that despite the hot job market it’s imperative they start thinking about their employment future when they’re freshmen.
“Students who haven’t prepared well through the total four year experience who are rushing at the end and haven’t really had experiences in a professional setting – this isn’t a labor market where you show up and say ‘I’ve got my degree, where’s my job.’ Your degree opens the door, but you still have to earn the right to get a position.
“And the sad thing in this labor market is that employers will say ‘go back and get experience and get back to us later.’
“Kids who have initiative and are resilient and have had experiences and go out and prepare themselves are going to be well received in this market and they’re going to do well.”